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  RIVERSIDE
'Love, Fear And The Time Machine'
(Inside Out)
Release Date: 4th September 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


riverside

Polish prog rockers Riverside have done a great job of building themselves up from underground unknowns into a band with a worldwide fan base and a recognisable style since their inception in 2001. Five full length albums have shown them to be masters of a technically proficient but emotionally melancholy kind of progressive rock full of darkness and intensity.

'Love, Fear And The Time Machine' is a six word title for their sixth full length album continuing a tradition instigated for the last few releases and showing that there is at least a quirky sense of humour at play somewhere.

Progressive rock isn't just a label for these guys and each release shows them actually trying to show some changes, some genuine progress from the last. This time around they have toned things down a notch, making the music feel lighter and more mellow and melodic than most of what's gone before. That melancholy, reflective vibe is still present though and the result is mixed with a focus much more on songwriting than showing off of their undoubted instrumental skills resulting in album of full of moments of exquisite beauty.

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Mariusz Duda's vocals are elegant and full of a mellow strength which carries the songs full of lyrics about the agonies of making big decisions in your life. 'Towards The Blue Horizon' is a perfect illustration starting from an acoustic guitar and vocal base before building seemlessly into a full blown progressive work out full of swirling keyboards, jagged guitar edges and complex rhythms but the songwriting holds it all together and those vocals are quietly melodic yet able to carry the song through to its' reflective conclusion.

Album opener, the superbly titled 'Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By A Hat)' is another terrific composition which is instantly mesmerising. From its' atmospheric keyboard vocal and guitar intro it flows through heavier sections which show they can still put the rock in prog rock but still allows some terrific vocal and guitar hooklines to worm their way into your head and dominate the song.

There are more straightforward tunes on here too like the the poppy acoustic melancholy of closing track 'Found(The Unexpected Flaw Of Searching)' which is beautifully structured. This just shows they are able to cover off both songs of masterful simplicity and gorgeous complexity equally well.

riverside

There are no ten minute plus epics here which probably reflects the band's intentions to make the songs more important than getting into intense musical work outs. Most of the songs clock in at around the six to eight minute mark though and feature plenty for even the most avid prog rock fan to enjoy while still being totally accessible to anyone who is simply open minded and likes quality rock of any kind.

If you are new to the ever expanding world of Riverside a crude comparison would be that this album is somewhere inbetween the beautiful melancholy of the best of Anathema's recent work and the song based progressive vibe of the current Spock's Beard output. Even that sells them short though.

This is an album of the year contender from me full of so many delights and depths I'll be playing it for years to come. I normally resist awarding the 5/5 mark to leave that for the great albums but here I just have to as I simply couldn't find a fault with it!

Line up:
Mariusz Duda - (Vocals, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar)
Piotr Grudziński - (Guitars)
Piotr Kozieradzki - (Drums)
Michał Łapaj - (Keyboards)


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